Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tell Tasneem Your Tip!


As many of you in the Western Cape would know the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (PGWC) has spearheaded energy efficiency and savings. In 2006 the Western Cape was subject to serious load shedding and we called on stakeholders to join us and manage the shortages. We established the Energy Risk Management Committee (ERMC) and this year, once again, we have been called upon to re-activate it.

The ERMC is currently forming a demand-side management plan, has developed equitable and reliable load shedding schedules and will also investigate the uptake of renewable energies for both energy efficiency and generation. As mentioned by Premier Ebrahim Rasool, in his State of the Province address the Western Cape aims to save 500 MW of electricty each day as part of our contribution to the national effort!

One of my staffers was telling me that he is also trying to help by turning off his geyser each morning. However, he said that he kept forgeting to turn it on each evening after work and subsequently has had to deal with cold water.

His idea to mitigate this matter was to print a sign saying 'Geyser On' and 'Geyser Off' on the backside. This sign hangs over his switchboard and every evening when he comes home the sign catches his attention and he is remiinded to turn on his geyser.

This made me think about how important it is for each citizen in our province to also make their individual contributions. I am sure that there are many brilliant ideas on how to save electricty out there so we decided to start the 'Tell Tasneem Your Tip campaign' on my blog.

It would be fantastic if you had ideas and would enter them on this blog so we can keep a record of all of your efforts.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Western Cape Energy Committee is re-activated

Last night, Tasneem Essop, the Western Cape MEC for Environment, Planning and Economic Development, announced that the provincial Energy Risk Management Committee (ERMC), which was started by Premier Ebrahim Rasool in 2006, had been re-activated after a broad range of stakeholders agreed that the province needed a predictable and reliable management and information plan to help citizens prepare for electricity load shedding and that a demand side management programme was crucial to ensuring electricity savings in the province.

Essop said that it was clear from the Eskom briefing to the ERMC, that the energy situation was very different to the previous situation two years ago as it had now become a national issue and was no longer a localised Western Cape problem. She said that regardless of these new conditions, the Western Cape would have to contribute to helping find solutions to the problem and again ensure electricity savings as we successfully did two years ago.

‘The discussion last night was robust and our critical stakeholders expressed very strong opinions about the load shedding but I was deeply impressed by their renewed commitment to see the ERMC up and running again, their very strong spirit of consensus and a belief in our provincial model. The ERMC is a focused leadership collective of which we should all be very proud!’ said Essop.

The ERMC has mandated its sub-committee, the Provincial Monitoring Team (PMT), to work with Eskom provincial management and the City of Cape Town to devise integrated load shedding timetables, a demand-side management plan and a communication plan which will be tabled for comment by the various stakeholders at their next meeting in the first week of February.

The Renewable Energy Task Team, consisting of officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP), the City of Cape Town, Eskom and civil society was also tasked with preparing a report aimed at incorporating the provision of renewable energy sources, as part of the overall strategy to deal with medium to long term problems which would result from increasing demand outstripping supply.

Essop said that her department had made significant progress in developing a renewable energy plan for the province and that the challenge now was to make sure ‘that renewable energy products, such as solar water heaters, move out of a business plan phase and into our homes and factories as not only are they are very effective demand-side management tools but they also create exciting new investment opportunities.’

She said that the most important task of the ERMC was to devise a strong communication plan which would help citizens of the Western Cape access reliable and predictable information on load shedding and practical ways of saving electricity.

‘If we are expected to pull together and work through these difficult times then we must at least help our citizens get an honest and clear picture of what is required and how every individual can contribute to energy savings.’

Two organisations from labour and civil society said that they would need to consult amongst their membership and hoped to return with a mandate to participate at the next meeting in February.


Issued by:
Minister Tasneem Essop
Environment, Planning and Economic Development

For further information contact:
Nils Flaatten
Ministerial Spokesperson
Ministry of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
083 708 7119

Ikhaya Lethu Sonke – A Home for All – ‘n Tuiste vir Almal

Green Scorpions tackle water pollution

Western Cape MEC for Environment, Planning and Economic Development, Tasneem Essop, said that this week she had instructed the ‘Green Scorpions’, or Environmental Management Inspectors, to investigate the illegal dumping of waste and pollution in the Klein Vlei and Bokmakierie canals, after she had noticed an increased build up of waste materials as she drove past these canals.

The ‘Green Scorpions’, who have also received complaints from members of the public and residents about the polluted rivers, conduct their site inspections along the section of Jan Smuts Drive which runs up until the corner of Klipfontien Road (and is adjacent to the Bokmakierie residential area) as well as a second site running from the N2, along the Baden Powell Drive towards Stellenbosch and found large amounts of domestic waste, used tyres (in and alongside both canals) and effluent flowing into the canals.

They have now issued a notification of intention to issue a directive against the City of Cape Town for failing in their duty to prevent the illegal dumping of waste and pollution in the Klein Vlei and Bokmakierie canals.

The notification which was issued in terms of Section 28(4) of the National Environmental Management Act was sent to the City Manager, Achmat Ebrahim, and compels the City of Cape Town to conduct a thorough clean-up of the two areas within 10 working days.

‘We seriously need to start taking care of our rivers. For far too long citizens of our province have abused these water-ways and become immune to the unsightly state of our rivers, not to mention the serious health hazards that local residents are exposed to, such as those in Bokmakierie. These rivers form a critical part of our eco-systems and I can not believe that we allow people to break the law, dump their waste and leave the most vulnerable of our people to live in these horrible conditions. I am very concerned that we still have not learnt that waste materials are guaranteed to clog up our stormwater drainage systems when the winter rains come. Everyone knows that this will lead to unnecessary flooding and will cost the taxpayer money to fix the problem. We must learn to take better care of our environment and use proper preventative measures. Hence the City of Cape Town, which has a duty of care towards the environment, must not only comply with this notice but they must also empower the local community as part of their preventative approach to waste management.’

‘We want them to take measures to prevent this from happening again but most importantly, we want them to proactively work with local communities and run educational workshops to help create a new paradigm towards waste management and the protection of our environment. Communities also need to take ownership and pride in these water-ways and must help prevent future pollution. I have warned municipalities, during the Cleanest Town Competition that I will adopt a zero tolerance approach to pollution and polluters should see this as a serious warning. The Green Scorpions will not hesitate to take similar action in the future’, said Essop

Failure to comply with the notification of intention to issue a directive could see the ‘Green Scorpions’ issuing a directive against the City of Cape Town which has serious consequences.


Issued by:
Minister Tasneem Essop
Environment, Planning and Economic Development

For further information contact:
Nils Flaatten
Media and Strategic Policy Manager
Ministry of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
083 708 7119

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wetlands Forum Blog

The Department has assisted the Wetlands Forum set up a blog to keep all local 'wetlanders' in touch with issues of interest to the Western and Southern Cape Wetlands Forums.

The blog contains links to numerous key local and international web resources.

World Wetlands Day (February 2) has recently been celebrated and the blog is a veritable treasure trove of information about local wetland conservation initiatives.

The Wetlands Forum Blog as accessible at